Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Quilt Retreats

I had the good fortune to be able to participate in a quilting retreat in NJ over the weekend. I believe there were about 23-24 of us there and everyone was lovely. I really enjoyed the energy in the main sewing area. Sometimes it was buzzing, loud and full of laughter and the sound of whirring sewing machines or the blast of the occasional steam iron. Other times it got very quiet when people were working as individuals and concentrating on their projects.

The retreat center was beautiful. The light filled room was huge, and we had plenty of room to work, visit, chat and sew. The one side of the main room was all windows, making the daylight delightful. Even at night the lighting was more than adequate.

Note the beautiful quilted panels on the wall in the second photo. They represent Earth, Wind and Fire...
Perfect inspiration for a group of quilters.

I've been to many retreats over the years and I found that this past weekend was truly the nicest whole package retreat. The sleeping accomodations were more than adequate, with twin beds, a shared bath with nice shower, plenty of hot water and thick, thirsty, soft towels. The rooms were spotlessly clean and well appointed.

I liked that the sink was outside the bath, so it was easily accessible and great for sharing. And each room had its own temperature control for heat and air/fan. No vent wars!

There were alot of bonuses at this place we stayed, including big decks, no stairs, a great kitchen area, a gas fireplace, and two other smaller conference rooms that we were able to use whenever we wanted to. One was turned into a cutting and ironing room and it had a large screen TV that allowed us to watch movies on DVD.

The main room had a beautiful galley kitchen for our use during our stay. They provided coffees, tea, dishwasher, fridge, microwave and there was plenty of counterspace for us to share goodies to eat.

We had pizza and salad the first evening after everyone had arrived. The other meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) were served family style in the dining hall. The dining hall is a real old fashioned log cabin that is literally a stone's throw walk away from the center where we stayed. There was always salad and plenty of choices for food, drink and sides. The staff was friendly, and they really did make some delicious food. At breakfast we had eggs, hash browns, toast, cereal, yogurt, fruit, cottage cheese, bacon or sausages, milk, coffee, tea, etc. They even were willing to accommodate special request from the guests, such as vegan or veggie sausages if you don't eat meat or pork. Lunches ranged from soup, sandwiches, chips, salad and drinks to baked chicken, veggies, rice, potatoes...choices too numerous for me to remember. Dinner was meatloaf. veggies, potatoes and it was plentiful and really tasty. No dishes and platters of cookies to enjoy at night. I was very happy with the food and I didn't hear any complaints from anyone that they didn't like it.

We quilted, we sewed, we shared, we laughed. Some slept, some napped, some read, some knitted or crocheted. I was even able to watch the NCAA Women's Gymnastics Conference Championships on my ipad because of the free wireless connections in the center. I think a few of the ladies may have stayed up all night and I know that a lot of sewing got done and there were some absolutely beautiful projects that were completed or almost completed.

I left on Sunday afternoon, thinking how lucky I was to be able to go, to now have a bunch of new quilting friends and to have learned and shared so much. Aleeda Crawley planned this terrific weekend and she did an amazing job ensuring that even the small things were taken care of so that everyone could relax and truly enjoy themselves. Thank you Aleeda and to the rest of the retreaters, can't wait to do it again soon!

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